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Puncheur, or puncher in English, is a name given to a road bicycle racer who specialises in rolling terrain with short but steep climbs.[1][2][3]


Ideal races for this type of rider are the one-day classics in spring.These races are characterized by hills that have a 10–20% gradient and are 1–2 km long, examples include climbs at Liège–Bastogne–Liège, the Mur de Huy in the Flèche Wallonne and the Manayunk Wall in the Philadelphia International Championship. Puncheurs are usually relatively well built, with broader shoulders and bigger legs than the average racing cyclist.[4] The physique of this type of rider allows them to escape from the peloton through quick bursts usually with the assistance of a teammate.

Examples of such racers include Philippe Gilbert, Simon Gerrans, Paolo Bettini, Danilo Di Luca, Joaquim Rodríguez, Alexis Vuillermoz and Peter Sagan, who are able to sprint up the shorter climbs to win a stage or a single-day race. Often these racers have had a career in mountainbike racing, where there are a lot of shorter but steep climbs. However, their lower endurance is a disadvantage in stage races where the climbs are usually longer (5–20 km), albeit at lower gradients (5–10%). In stage races they often work as domestiques for team leaders, reeling in breakaways, or go on the attack to force rival teams to expend energy to close them down.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Copeland, Tom. 'Le Tour' [1]. 01JUL11
  2. ^ Cossins, Peter. 'Mental visualisation boosts Fédrigo’s potential' [2]. 30JUL10
  3. ^ Gallagher, Brendan . 'Tour de France 2010, stage two: Classics territory offers puncheurs chance to shine' [3]. The Telegraph, 05JUL10
  4. ^ a b Mahé, Louise (23 March 2015). "What type of Tour de France rider are you most like?". Cycling Weekly. Retrieved 25 March 2015.  Another example is Nacer Bouhanni whose not-very-passive passive-aggressive style has seen him take the term quite literally, by putting the punch into puncheur. The Cofidis rider may float like a butterfly, but stings like a gnat.